Student paramedics inspire BME communities
Student paramedics from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Northampton are fronting a project that aims to attract more people from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background into the profession.
While 14% of the UK population identifies as coming from a BME background, just over 7% of paramedics are from BME groups.
To address this gap, Health Education England working in East Midlands commissioned Sheffield Hallam and Northampton University to produce some short films of paramedic students talking about why they chose that career in the hope it will increase the numbers of BME learners studying to become a paramedic.
The project has been recognised in a report published by the University Alliance which identifies that collaborative outreach and working in partnership with schools are the most effective ways of supporting underrepresented groups to apply to university.
Sheffield Hallam paramedic student Danny Chow said: "There aren't a lot of Chinese heritage paramedics in the ambulance service from my experience and I've always been a bit of a mould-breaker in my family and I do things very differently from everyone else."
"For me, coming across a career that no one else that I know of from the Asian community has gone into, I never saw it as a barrier, I saw it as a way to be ground-breaking and saw it as an opportunity to open doors for other people."
"Potentially, you've got people out there who could be fantastic paramedics but they don't apply because they've never heard of it."
Ruth Allarton, head of department for Allied Health Professions at Sheffield Hallam, said: "This has been a fantastic, collaborative project that helps to capture the essence of what is an exciting and rewarding career. We hope these encouraging films of our paramedic students help to build confidence amongst BME communities and inspire them to take that first step towards their dream careers."